Six winners and six losers from the 2024 PGA Championship

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two of the year’s four majors are now complete, and the latest provided us with a thrilling Sunday that resulted in one player winning his first major championship while several others fell just short of the feat.

Xander Schauffele was not the only one who could take something away from Valhalla this week, though plenty others are leaving the 2024 PGA Championship with a bad taste in their mouths.

Here are this week’s winners and losers:

Winners

Over 18 holes on Sunday, Schauffele flipped the script that had dogged him throughout his career — that he couldn’t close when it mattered most.

After going 2-for-8 while holding a 54-hole lead in his PGA Tour career before the final round Sunday, Schauffele carded a 6-under 65 to finish with a 72-hole total of 21 under.

The 30-year-old won his first major championship in his 28th start and completely changed the trajectory of his career from a player who couldn’t win one of the big four to a major championship winner who is playing the best golf of his life.

He looked different under pressure on Sunday, not letting a couple of bad breaks from the tee affect him on the final two holes — and he made the biggest putt of his career on the 72nd.

“I don’t think I’d ever look at it as lacking,” Schauffele said. “I looked at it as someone that is trying really hard and needs more experience. All those close calls for me, even last week, that sort of feeling, it gets to you at some point. It just makes this even sweeter. I know it’s a major, but just winning in general, this is as sweet as it gets for me.”


Though moving to LIV Golf may have slightly removed him from the limelight, DeChambeau proved for the second straight major that the change hasn’t affected his ability to compete for the sport’s top tournaments.

After heading into Sunday at Augusta with a shot at his first green jacket and finishing tied for sixth, DeChambeau nearly added to his lone major total this week at Valhalla with an electric final round that fell just one stroke short of a playoff with Schauffele. The 2021 U.S. Open winner has now finished inside the top-10 at four of his last seven major appearances.

There’s something about DeChambeau that’s become evident during these last two majors. His quirkiness and showmanship have only increased since leaving for LIV and the fans seem to gravitate toward it. More than most golfers, DeChambeau appears to feed off that energy.

On Sunday at Valhalla, two things were clear: DeChambeau was the crowd favorite, and the way his game is shaping up, it feels like it’s only a matter of time before he wins another major.


It was nearly a year ago, after carding a 12-over 84 in the opening round of the Memorial Tournament on June 2, that Horschel broke down and admitted his confidence “is the lowest it’s been in my entire career.”

Horschel struggled mightily last season with just three top-10 finishes in 23 starts. He missed nearly as many cuts (10) as he made (13). He finished 90th in FedEx Cup points and fell to 94th in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Billy Ho is back now.

On April 21, he won the Corales Puntacana Championship (yes, it was against a lesser field). He seemed to have confidence again at Valhalla, posting a 7-under 64 on Sunday to tie for eighth at 13-under 271.

It was Horschel’s best finish in 12 starts in the PGA Championship and just his second top-10 finish in 41 major starts across his career.


MacIntyre has struggled adjusting to life in the U.S. since moving to Florida about six months ago to play regularly on the PGA Tour. A native of Scotland, MacIntyre has spent much of his career on the DP World Tour. He admitted that missing home got the best of him this season.

He missed five cuts and had just one top-10 finish in his first 10 starts.

That changed once MacIntyre put the clubs down and went home. After spending three weeks with family and friends in Scotland, he came back to the U.S. with a fresh outlook.

The European Ryder Cup team member tied for eighth at 13 under with four straight rounds under par. He didn’t have his best stuff Sunday, but he battled for a 1-under 70.

It was his best finish in a major in the U.S.

“It was a great week,” MacIntyre said. “First time I feel like I’ve really been in a major championship going into a final round. I didn’t quite have my best stuff today, but it was solid in the stuff that I’ve been working on, and more personally and almost emotionally it really worked. I stayed patient, kind of got my reward, and it’s just so pleasing to see that I can stay in the fight.”


It was quite a week for Hovland. The 2023 Tour Championship winner admitted he nearly pulled out of the tournament given how poorly he was playing. Instead, he nearly won it.

Hovland finished two strokes behind Schauffele but the result far exceeded any expectations he had coming into the week. He recently reunited with swing coach Joe Mayo, who seems to have worked some magic to get the 27-year-old playing as well as he did this week.

Hovland appeared to be ready to take over the golf world at the end of 2023, and instead he hit a wall and began searching for other ways to fix his golf swing. Now, a third-place finish at a major he nearly didn’t play could be just the tip of the iceberg.


A homecoming may have been exactly what Thomas needed. The two-time PGA Championship winner arrived at Valhalla with not only the pressure of playing at home, but also of trying to continue to turn his game around given the struggles of the last year.

Thomas had been trending in the right direction, but a T-8 finish this week — his best at a major since that 2022 PGA Championship win — may be the catalyst for his quest back to the top of the sport. Thomas not only exhibited shades of his old self, but he also gave the Louisville crowd some of its best moments, most notably, with the incredible flop shot birdie chip on the 14th hole Saturday.

“It was an unbelievable week. I’m bummed it’s over,” Thomas said Sunday. “I had so much fun. The fans were unbelievable. I played some really, really, really good golf. I played plenty well enough to win this week, and it just — yeah, I had a blast.”


Losers

The defending PGA Championship winner was blunt when he was asked to assess his performance at Valhalla this week.

“Not very good,” Koepka said. “I think it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?”

Koepka wasn’t bad for three of the four rounds, but a 3-over 74 on Saturday knocked him out of contention for a fourth Wanamaker Trophy. He posted a 5-under 66 on Sunday to tie for 26th at 9 under over 72 holes.

It was his third straight disappointing finish at a major — he tied for 64th at the 2023 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool and for 45th at the Masters in April.

Still, Koepka believes he’s close to putting it together with the U.S. Open about a month away.

“I feel like I’m playing good,” Koepka said. “It’s just yesterday was just kind of unfortunate timing. But I felt like I’m playing all right. I missed a bunch of putts on Friday from inside like 5 feet, and then yesterday’s round was unfortunate. But other than that, I think I’m pretty close to right there.”


The defending U.S. Open champion has fewer than four weeks to turn things around before he heads to Pinehurst No. 2, where he’ll attempt to become the first back-to-back champion since Koepka in 2017-18.

Clark had a second straight disappointing finish when he missed the cut at the PGA Championship, posting 4-over 146 in the first two rounds. Last week, he tied for 47th at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, another event he won last year, and finished 7 over, 24 shots behind Rory McIlroy. He also missed the cut at the Masters.

After winning at Pebble Beach in early February and finishing second to Scottie Scheffler at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players in March, Clark has cooled off considerably.


If DeChambeau has been the highlight of LIV Golf in the majors this year, then Rahm has been the disappointment. The two-time major winner missed the cut at this year’s PGA after finishing outside the top-40 in his Masters’ defense earlier this year.

It was more than just the results: Rahm looked out of sorts, out of rhythm and even threw a club at one point in disgust. It’s too early to say whether playing a LIV limited schedule as opposed to the normal PGA Tour routine, which Rahm excelled with in recent years, is the difference. However, it’s safe to say Rahm hasn’t been performing up to his potential in major championships.

Rahm is still one of the best players in the world, there’s no doubt about that. And he could play extremely well at Pinehurst and Royal Troon. For now, however, he clearly isn’t playing at the level we’ve come to expect of him at majors.

“​​There has been times in my career where I would say maybe I wasn’t hitting it my best but things just seemed to go your way and you carry that confidence on for a few months and got a lot of great results,” Rahm said before his first round at Valhalla. “Then if you’re not playing good, if you’re not swinging it good, then at that point you maybe need to assess do I need to change anything technically, what’s going on? It could be so many different ways to feel like you’re in a roadblock that it’s hard to exactly pinpoint one of them.”


Homa seemed to be trending in the right directions at majors after struggling mightily in them earlier in his career. After tying for 10th at The Open last season and then tying for third at the Masters, he tied for 35th at 8-under 276.

Homa posted a 3-under 68 on Thursday but couldn’t do any better over the final 54 holes.

As always, however, he’s still winning on social media. He poked fun at his friend, Scottie Scheffler, who rallied to tie for eighth Sunday after spending part of Friday morning in jail, following his arrest for a traffic incident.

“Frustrating week in KY,” Homa wrote on Instagram. “Lost to a guy who was literally in jail Friday morning. Tough look for me. The journey continues in Fort Worth next week.”


After playing in the final group at the Masters and being unable to keep with Scheffler, Morikawa was adamant that two holes cost him a chance at a green jacket. After once again finding himself in the final group at the PGA Championship and coming up short yet again, Morikawa had a different, more self-aware take on what went wrong.

“Everything,” he said after shooting even par and not making a single birdie putt until the final hole. “Look, to win a major championship, you’ve got to have your solid golf game. People talk about winning with their B-game, C-game, A-game. Felt like even though I’ve been putting the results together, it still feels like I’m playing with a C- to B-game. I wouldn’t say I’m faking it. I’m grinding and I’m putting together a score, and that’s what you can ask. But if I want to be able to close out the last two, just got to be a little bit sharper, and it’s just not there.”

Morikawa’s putter had kept him in the tournament all week long, but on Sunday it abandoned him and exposed some gaps within his game that still need to be improved if he wants to truly contend at a major again.

“These first two have been disappointing, but there can still be a positive outlook,” Morikawa said. “I’m going to have to just figure out how to be better.”


Valhalla Golf Club

There was a lot of talk about records at Valhalla this week and at the center of it all was the golf course. Not only did Valhalla surrender two 62s this week — tied for the lowest round at a major ever — but it also produced the lowest 72-hole score at any major ever.

It wasn’t strictly the fault of the course, as heavy rain caused the course to play extra soft, allowing for the best players in the world to, as Thomas said, tear it apart. But in many ways, what transpired over four rounds of play did not exactly inspire confidence that this version of Valhalla could hold up to the modern game going forward.

There’s no doubt that Valhalla failed to truly be a major championship test. Between the conditions and the way the setup often forced players into the same places and the same shots, the bunched-up leaderboard masked some of the flaws of trying to make the world’s best play their best. Don’t get me wrong: Schauffele controlled this tournament from start to finish and deserved to win. Valhalla, meanwhile, will likely be lucky to see another PGA Championship come their way any time soon.

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